Civil law is in place to address behavior that causes some sort of injury to a person or other private party. This is done through civil lawsuits. The legal penalties for any parties that are found liable for these acts are generally monetary; however, they can also include court-ordered remedies such as injunctions or restraining orders.
Criminal law is in place to address behavior that is considered to be an offense against society, the state, or public. This remains true, even if the victim is an individual person. Someone convicted of a crime can be forced to pay fines, and may also lose their freedom by being sentenced to jail or prison time. However, whether someone is being charged with a serious crime or a minor crime, the accused person still has the right to a trial among other legal protections.
Criminal acts themselves are classified from being less serious and petty offenses, such as simple theft, to the most serious of offenses such as drug trafficking and murder. Additionally, each jurisdiction as well as the federal courts have different ways in which they classify these crimes, from misdemeanors and disorderly conduct charges to felonies. To add to the complexity, what exact crime someone can be charged with also depends on where the crime occurred.
What Is Blue Collar Crime?
Blue-collar crime refers to crimes that are considered to be more obvious in nature, and as such are easily detected by law enforcement. These crimes generally involve an element of physical force and threats, as well as conduct that is immediately recognizable as being illegal. At its most discriminatory, blue-collar crime is frequently associated with geographic regions receiving low income or with “over-population” issues.
Because of this, blue-collar crime is usually contrasted with white-collar crime. White collar crime more commonly involves crimes of a more corporate or business nature. These crimes are generally associated with issues such as tax reporting and accounting. As white-collar crimes can be more difficult to detect, they are reported less frequently compared to blue collar crimes. The fact that the wealthy and affluent are more likely to commit white collar crimes is another influencing factor.
To reiterate, blue-collar crimes generally involve crimes of a more physical or violent nature. Some common examples of these crimes include, but are not limited to:
The distinction between blue collar crime and white collar crime is increasingly being blurred, especially with the introduction of the internet and other such technology. An example of this would be how a blue collar crime may also include various types of check fraud, credit fraud, and internet fraud. Because of this, blue collar crime operations have become more sophisticated in recent years.
What Is The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony?
Before continuing to discuss blue collar crimes in general, it is helpful to differentiate between a misdemeanor crime and a felony crime.
A misdemeanor is a type of criminal offense that is considered to be more serious than a citation, but less serious than felony charges. In most states, the defining feature of a misdemeanor is that it is generally punishable by a sentence of one year maximum in a county jail facility, as well as criminal fines. It is important to note that this sentence cannot be served in a state prison facility, which is generally reserved for felony charges.
Misdemeanor crimes can range from assault and battery, to property crimes. Additionally, state laws vary widely in terms of which crimes are classified as misdemeanors. Some of the most common examples of misdemeanor crimes include:
Generally speaking, a felony is any criminal offense that results in a prison sentence of one year or longer. These are crimes that involve an element of violence, and as such are considered to be harmful or dangerous to society. Felony crimes include some of the most serious types of crimes that a person can commit, such as first-degree murder and arson.
Some general examples of felony crimes include:
- Grand theft, arson, and/or vandalism;
- Distributing, selling, and/or trafficking drugs;
- Sexual assault and/or human trafficking;
- First-degree murder, second-degree murder, and/or robbery; and
- White collar crimes such as embezzlement, securities fraud, and tax evasion.
The first considerable difference between the two is that felony crimes are generally more serious than crimes that are considered to be misdemeanors, and felonies frequently involve an act of violence. The second difference between the two would be the form of punishment that a convicted person is likely to receive, as previously mentioned. Because felony crimes are viewed as more severe than misdemeanor offenses, their punishments are as well.
What Are The Legal Penalties For A Blue-Collar Crime?
Blue collar crimes are generally considered to be misdemeanors. To reiterate, these crimes are not considered to be as serious as other types of crimes such as deadly weapon crimes or drug crimes.
Legal penalties for misdemeanor crimes involve some sort of criminal fine, combined with short jail time, generally only a few days to less than one year. Criminal fines are most commonly capped at $1,000 but this may vary by state. However, some blue collar crimes can result in serious felony charges. These may include situations involving:
- Repeat offenders;
- The use of a deadly weapon when completing the crime; and/or
- Crimes that cause serious bodily harm to the victim.
It is important to note that specific consequences for criminal misdemeanor charges may also depend on the exact type of violation involved. An example of this would be how for a misdemeanor graffiti sentence, the defendant may be required to perform community clean up in addition to writing a letter of apology to the affected property owner. Another example of this would be how punishments for drunk driving can involve mandatory DUI classes which are added on top of the criminal fines and/or jail sentence.
Are There Any Defenses To Misdemeanor Blue-Collar Crime?
Criminal defenses may apply in many different situations; however, the type of defense that is raised will obviously depend on the type of misdemeanor that was committed. Some common examples of defenses to misdemeanors include:
- Lack of evidence;
- Intoxication; if the intoxication affected their ability to act intentionally;
- Duress; and/or
- Self-Defense. In order to raise this defense, the defendant must only use a reasonable or proportionate amount of force. Additionally, they cannot be the one to initiate the use of force.
Do I Need An Attorney For Blue Collar Crime?
If you are facing charges for a blue collar crime, you will need to work with an area criminal defense attorney.
An experienced and local lawyer can help determine your rights and legal options according to your state’s specific criminal laws, and will help you determine whether there are any legal defenses available to you based on the specifics of your case. Additionally, your criminal defense lawyer will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.